The future of Malaga CF is set to be decided this week after club lawyer Joaquín Jofre flew out to Doha to meet with club owner Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani on Monday to discuss the two most pressing issues affecting the club: the appointment of a new head coach and the departure of sporting director Mario Husillos.
As SUR in English reported last week, Husillos will be leaving his role after having seen his authority publicly undermined by Al-Thani, who closed the door on Lucas Alcaraz's appointment as head coach via Twitter.
After discussions with Jofre and senior consultants Antonio Benítez, Ben Barek and Francisco Martín Aguilar, Al-Thani has decided to do away with the sporting director role and appoint one man to carry out all sporting operations.
The man Al-Thani has chosen is Juan Ramón Muñiz, who turned down the job as head coach after a meeting with Husillos months ago (citing a desire to have greater influence within the club and concerns over the influence of Al-Thani in day-to-day matters). However, now that the role on offer has changed, the two-time Malaga boss' interest has been rekindled.
It is understood that Muñiz has been offered a two-year deal to carry out the roles of head coach and sporting director, but will not accept the deal on the table until he gets it in writing from Al-Thani that he will have the full confidence of the club to bring in an extensive backroom staff to drive the new sporting project and that there will be no interference on Al-Thani's part.
This proposal is what is under discussion in Qatar at the moment. If the sheikh agrees to the terms set out by Muñiz, his appointment will be announced as soon as possible so he can start to play catch-up on Malaga's rivals in Segunda who have already started planning for next season while the Costa team has been in paralysis. However, if refused, Malaga will be back at square one and need to find a coach willing to fit the bill.
Sealing Husillos' departure
The second issue that needs resolving is that of Husillos' departure. Since informing the club that he would be leaving last week, he has continued to turn up at the Malaga offices but has decided against pursuing any of the deals that he had instigated so as not to step on the toes of the incoming man to take his role.
Negotiations to sign Muñiz are believed to be progressing well, but even should the sheikh sign off on his demands, he cannot come in until Husillos' future is resolved.
Having seen his working conditions compromised, and therefore the terms of his contract verbally agreed with the sheikh's sons, Nayef and Nasser, before rejoining last winter broken, the sporting director is holding out for a payoff.
Until then, and until Jofre returns from Qatar later this week, the whole process remains at a standstill and Malaga continue to lose ground on their rivals.